Browsing by Subject "collaborative learning"

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  • Repo-Kaarento, Saara (2006)
    The main aim of this work is to study the possibility of applying the cooperative learning approach to develop academic learning and teaching culture. In this work cooperative learning refers to a pedagogical approach that applies social psychological knowledge of group dynamics and small group teaching. Furthermore, theories of collaborative learning and organization development have been applied. Based on these theories a model of developing learning and teaching culture was developed. The model was tested in the development project that was carried out in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of Helsinki University. The research questions were: How were the theories of cooperative and collaborative learning and organization development applied in the project? What kind of effects did the development project have on the learning and teaching culture? Through which kind of mechanisms did the project influence this culture? How should the development model be revised after the empirical test? The project lasted five years and the major part of the project consisted of a one-year pedagogical training course. Altogether 145 people (teachers, researchers, library staff, and students) participated in the training, two to three departments at a time. In the pedagogical training cooperative learning methods were widely used. A questionnaire was used to study effects of the development project. The questionnaire was sent to 87 people and 65.5 % answered it. Both the answers to the questionnaire and a sample of learning diaries (n=61) were used to study the mechanism of the project. A sample of the learning diaries consisted of two pedagogical training group members’ diaries. The frequency distributions were calculated as extrapolations from the answers to the structured questions. Furthermore the answers were classified by the main background variables. The analysis of the open answers to the questionnaire and the learning diaries were data-based. According to the answers to the questionnaire, the effects of the pedagogical training were as follows: The participants consider learning more as an active process of constructing knowledge. Furthermore they considered the individual learning styles and strategies, cooperation and motivation as more important part of the learning process than before the pedagogical training. The role of the teacher was viewed more challenging than before. Additionally the cooperation between teachers, other staff members and students had projected to increase. After the project had ended the teaching methods in the whole faculty were viewed to become varied and the teaching was considered to be more valued than before. The technicalities of the project were according to answers to the questionnaire: the project stimulated the change process, provided new methods for learning and teaching, had an effect on conceptions of learning and teaching and facilitated meaningful communication with others (staff and students). The analysis of the learning diaries supported these findings. In addition, the analysis of the learning diaries deepened the understanding of how the cooperative learning methods supported positive learning atmosphere and reduced the negative effect of the status differences between the members of the group. The critical comments in the learning diaries could be interpreted as collision between cooperative and traditional teaching culture. Cooperative learning gives theory-based methods to develop academic learning and teaching culture. The approach helps the developer to create positive collaborative learning environment and gives ways to support learning in small groups, which can promote cultural change. On the other hand, to understand the whole process of organization development and promote change the theories of organizations and more sosioconstructivist theory of learning are needed.
  • Kokkoniemi, Maiju (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Objective of the study. Previous studies have concluded that applying collaborative learning methods in university courses, such as a small group work, enhances profound understanding of a learning issue and students’ thinking processes. In a group, students bring up new ideas and process, justify them from different perspectives, evaluate explanations and try to form a shared understanding of the theme to be studied. Questions have been found to be effective for improving students’ deep and collaborative knowledge elaboration, but the interrelationship between these two has not been investigated extensively, thus, only in the context of medical education. The objective of this study was to analyse how questions are used in a small group discussion for enhancing undergraduate students’ collaborative elaboration of knowledge in the context of biosciences. Methods. In this study, the video data collected from a small group discussion in a field course in biology were analysed. The focus of the analysis were the utterances in the group discussion of eight first-year bioscience students and their teacher. The aim of the group work and the discussion was to find out the students’ prior knowledge and elaborate ideas for defining a research problem. Theory-based content analysis was used to classify different question types and the quality of elaboration in answers that the students expressed. Finally, different question types were compared in relation to the quality of subsequent answers. Results and conclusions. In line with previous studies, the students elicited factual and declarative questions checking prior knowledge and the accuracy of their ideas. The teacher presented explanative and meaningful questions when asking the students to interpret and meta questions when encouraging other students to join a discussion. The students rarely elaborated and explained learning issues collaboratively. When answering, the students accepted different ideas without explaining or elaborating them further. When the teacher was involved in a discussion, the teacher explained and clarified issues on behalf of the students. The results emphasised the interpretation that students are used to express simple questions that do not challenge their thinking but that teachers can use explanative and meaningful questions to support students to elaborate their ideas thoroughly. The results show that applying collaborative learning methods requires that students are taught to ask meaningful questions and that pedagogical programs aiming at learning question strategies enhancing collaborative learning are developed and made available for teachers.
  • Soppela, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The purpose of this study was to describe what an invention project is like in a class of students with special needs. Special attention was paid to the division of labor and how the support of teachers and other group members appears during the project and how students participate in the project. In addition to this, the study wanted to find out how socio-emotional challenges show up during the invention process. The subject group was a 7th-grade special education class where six out of eight students participated. The pupils took part in a community-based invention project that combined different subjects and utilized invention pedagogy at the Helsinki Metropolitan Area's primary school. The project is part of the Growing mind research project. The study is an ethnographic case study in nature, in which material was collected by several different methods. The research material used was small group process diaries, group interviews, researcher observation material and e-mails, which teachers used to keep in touch between project sessions, and special classroom teacher interviews. The collected material was analyzed by qualitative content analysis and formed into a narrative. The invention project was, in the opinion of the students and the special class teacher, a project in which they would be happy to participate again. The course of the invention project was different in its linearity compared to the general education classes. Students got more motivated as the project progressed. The division of labor between the groups was done according to interests and some of the students worked more independently during the project. Each of them participated in the project in their own way. The socio-emotional challenges were visible at the beginning of the process, but as the process progressed, all the students overcame their challenges. The invention project groups were guided more than what they usually are in the general education classroom. The members of the small groups gave each other social support during the project. Students were instructed to aim for compromises and all those involved in the groups sought to work together and unity within the groups. The results suggest that an invention project, which includes observable features of nonlinear learning is suitable for a group of students with different interests and students with different levels of technological skills. The importance of this research culminates in the development of pedagogical models that support different learners and their role in a community learning process.
  • Hilppö, Jaakko (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    This study highlights the formation of an artifact designed to mediate exploratory collaboration. The data for this study was collected during a Finnish adaptation of the thinking together approach. The aim of the approach is to teach pulps how to engage in educationally beneficial form of joint discussion, namely exploratory talk. At the heart of the approach lies a set of conversational ground rules aimed to promote the use of exploratory talk. The theoretical framework of the study is based on a sociocultural perspective on learning. A central argument in the framework is that physical and psychological tools play a crucial role in human action and learning. With the help of tools humans can escape the direct stimulus of the outside world and learn to control ourselves by using tools. During the implementation of the approach, the classroom community negotiates a set of six rules, which this study conceptualizes as an artifact that mediates exploratory collaboration. Prior research done about the thinking together approach has not extensively researched the formation of the rules, which give ample reason to conduct this study. The specific research questions asked were: What kind of negotiation trajectories did the ground rules form during the intervention? What meanings were negotiated for the ground rules during the intervention The methodological framework of the study is based on discourse analysis, which has been specified by adapting the social construction of intertextuality to analyze the meanings negotiated for the created rules. The study has town units of analysis: thematic episode and negotiation trajectory. A thematic episode is a stretch of talk-in-interaction where the participants talk about a certain ground rule or a theme relating to it. A negotiation trajectory is a chronological representation of the negotiation process of a certain ground rule during the intervention and is constructed of thematic episodes. Thematic episodes were analyzed with the adapted intertextuality analysis. A contrastive analysis was done on the trajectories. Lastly, the meanings negotiated for the created rules were compared to the guidelines provided by the approach. The main result of the study is the observation, that the meanings of the created rules were more aligned with the ground rules of cumulative talk, rather than exploratory talk. Although meanings relating also to exploratory talk were negotiated, they clearly were not the dominant form. In addition, the study observed that the trajectories of the rules were non identical. Despite connecting dimensions (symmetry, composition, continuity and explicitness) none of the trajectories shared exactly the same features as the others.